An Insider’s Guide to Aspen Schools

The Aspen Real Estate Market is constantly changing and evolving. One of the more interesting shifts over the past several years has been a noticeable influx of families moving here full time. I believe one of the drivers of this trend is our educational excellence. For a town of 7000, Aspen offers great options for educating kids from preschool through high school.

Below is a summary of the educational options for the Aspen area both public and private.

Aspen School District

The Aspen schools sit near the base of Aspen Highlands ski area in what is likely one the most beautiful campus settings in the world. The District is progressive, boasting high student achievement and high post-secondary continuing education courses. Programs focus on the development of the whole child including a very unique Outdoor Education program K through 12.   Aspen has one private school in addition to the Aspen School District consisting of a Preschool, Elementary School, Middle School, High School and a Community School. As a parent, you would be impressed (and maybe surprised) to know the district has received:

  • The John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award given to schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement every year from 2002 to 2017, only excluding 2009 and 2016.
  • ELPA Excellence Award in recognition of providing the highest English language and academic growth among English learners in 2014.
  • District Accredited with Distinction recognized for exceeding Performance Framework expectations in student performance, academic achievement, academic growth gaps, and post-secondary ad workforce readiness every year since it’s inception.
  • 24th ranked School District in North America and 1st in Colorado from Niche Awards

Aspen Elementary School

AES faculty clearly defines, articulates, implements and assesses what student know and are able to do, and are committed to the social, physical and emotional well-being of all students. The staff focus is on learning in collaborative teams while implementing and monitoring best practices.

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Aspen Middle School

AMS’s incredible staff has chosen to be middle level educators because they recognize that the years of adolescence are pivotal and abound with individual potential and opportunity. Faculty cares for students’ concerns and engages them in meaningful educational experiences that prepare them for a successful future. Most importantly, teachers are advocates for all young adolescents.

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Aspen High School

AHS staff strives to model habits of mind and body that stimulate the students to challenge themselves to pursue lives of integrity and relevance. The academic program endeavors to inspire students to become lifelong learners. Courses are designed to produce thoughtful, resilient, independent thinkers. Typical students are characterized by enthusiasm, resourcefulness and inquisitive nature. The Experiential Education, International Baccalaureate, Special Education, English Language Learning and Vocational Education courses support our standard curriculum to meet the needs and expectations of all our learners so they may pursue a rigorous, purposeful and enriching education.

AHS has an incredible college counselling team anchored by the powerhouse guidance of Kathy Klug. Kathy’s knowledge and guidance of the college application and selection process is unsurpassed! Add to this team, a new administration led by principal Tharyn Mulberry and the positive change in culture is palpable.

Results speak and in 2015 US News & World Report named Aspen High School #6 in the State of Colorado.

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Aspen Community School

An award-winning charter school of ASD has been providing progressive educational opportunities to K through 8th grade since 1970. The small student to teacher ratio combined with an integrated, thematic curriculum provides a unique and effective method of meeting goals of lifelong learning, social justice, community participation and personal responsibility. The school completed a $9mm renovation of campus in 2015 and is looking forward to using the new facilities to the benefit of our community.

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Aspen Country Day

Aspen’s private education option, ACDS offers smaller class size, individual attention, teacher excellence and high standards that parents expect in private education. They offer preschool through eighth grade with a current enrollment of 200 students. Fifty percent of students continue their high school education at Aspen High School, the other half continue in boarding schools or other private education options. Country Day differs from Aspen public schools in that they accept students from outside the Aspen School District boundaries. ACDS is currently in the final phase of campus expansion with plans for completion in 2016.

Colorado Rocky Mountain School

CRMS was founded in 1953 as an alternative education for college bound students in the Western U.S.  It is unique in the Roaring Fork Valley as they host full time boarding students as well as day students.  With a total of 177 students this year, class sizes average 10 students.  They boast an impressive 100% college acceptance rate and offer financial assistance to 39% of their student body.  The campus consists of 325 acres in the shadows of majestic Mount Sopris in Carbondale, which is approximately 40 minutes from Aspen.

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Cornerstone Classical School

Cornerstone is a small, Christian based private school located in the mid valley 25 minutes from Aspen.  They offer a classical method of education with a three-stage approach to instruction and the goal of producing graduates who have mastered the art of learning so that they may skillfully acquire and apply knowledge, reason critically and articulate persuasively. It is often referred to as the Trivium (Latin for “three ways”), this time-tested pedagogy consists of the grammar, logic and rhetoric stages, each building upon its predecessor in a sequential manner.  The school accepts students from pre k through high school and holds classes 5 days a week.  Cornerstone is accredited by the National Association of Private Schools.

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